How to Make Video Calls Work for your Business

Octavio Hernandez

Remote work is evolving

In recent years we have experienced a shift in working practices as more of the workforce looks for alternatives to the traditional office environment. Today remote workers cover many different use cases that vary from employees 100% home based, road warriors or a mix of both. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for change. It has changed the way we work and communicate with customers and amongst colleagues. In response, businesses are moving away from traditional audio calls in favor of video conferencing as technology evolves and data bandwidth is less of an issue nowadays.

 

Video calling is easier than ever

Consumers are used to video calling in the form of Apple’s Facetime or Whatsapp video calls. Traditionally, users wouldn’t have big expectations about the quality of the video or sound. When it comes to business calls, the expectations are a good deal higher. Even though Skype for Business has been around for years, it was never a favorite medium for work calls. All of the sudden Zoom comes along and takes consumers, education and business by storm with its reliability and simplicity. In many ways, it has re-defined the standard for video conferencing. Microsoft’s successor to Skype, Teams is a new category that encompasses all aspects of collaboration including messaging, video conferencing and even managing projects.

 

Why should you use video for calls?

The reason is simple. In times of isolation and lack of physical contact, the sight of another person, even if it’s on a screen can make us more engaged in the conversation. It make us feel like we are all at the “same” meeting. And the sametime, that not all language is verbal. It involves gestures and facial expressions to add meaning to words. Think about it, we’ve all experienced scenarios where a sentence was misunderstood in an email exchange leading to frustration and numerous emails to fix it. Finally, we can hide behind an audio calls, go on mute and not be engaged. Video does away with all that.

 

What about data usage?

It’s well known that video is one of the most data intensive activities we can do on the internet. That not only applies to video streaming services like Hulu and Netflix but to video calling as well regardless of the application you are using. Zoom doesn’t release official figures on data usage, but it’s estimated that a 1 hour video call will consume 1GB of data. The figure for Skype seems to be in line with that estimate too. Multiply that by the number of meetings you have in a week and the figure gets scary right? The immediate question as a business is well, if I’m paying for the internet service how can I keep a lid on my data costs?

 

5 steps to make video usage more effective

  1. Is this meeting really necessary?

    This premise has been around for a long time and it applies both to face-to-face meetings and video calls. When you call a meeting, you should be absolutely clear about its goals. You should then ask if these goals could be accomplished some other way like email or a conversation in MS Teams or Slack. If so, don’t call it.

  2. Keep your meetings short and to the point.

    Distribute an agenda and reading materials ahead of the meeting. That helps people being informed before the meeting and helps them shift into context quicker. Whenever possible, try to limit the meeting to 30 minutes or less. It helps people stay focused if they know they only have half an hour to resolve an issue.

  3. Make the most of technology.

    Chances are your video app can do more than just host a video call. For example, to minimize interruptions you can mute everyone bar the presenter. Ask people to “raise their hands” if they have a question or comment to make. You can also share notes in real time via Google Docs to help people understand the key points of the meeting.

  4. Optimize your data plan

    Maybe your company has a shared data plan for all your users with a limited allowance. If that’s the case you you want to ensure that all your employees get a fair share of the data while not exceeding your pooled allowance. Asavie SD Mobile can help you by assigning an individual data quota to each one of your remote workers.

  5. Make video conferencing secure.

    Video calling technology has improved in recent years but at the end of the day, cybersecurity still demands organizations and employees to take action. When employees configure their app to “auto-answer” video calls, they open themselves to hackers that might try to gain access to their microphones or cameras. IT teams must ensure that employees are aware of these risks and take action to avoid them.

Video calls are changing how effective we work and engage when remote. Enabling video on mobiles make it even more ubiquitous. At Asavie, we are supporting many of our businesses to make remote working and remote access effective during this time.